The Constellation | Eating mindfully during the holidays 🍽🌎
Published: Fri, 12/14/18
Finding balance, helpful links, & book recommendations!
• December2018 •
How can we eat in a way that's
sustainable, healthy, anddelicious?
Seasonal food anxiety 🍂
As the holidays approach, I think a lot of us are consumed with anxiety about how to eat well, without feeling bad about our bodies or our impact on the environment. There’s been a lot of news in the media about how meat consumption is hurting the planet, and we are constantly bombarded with suggestions for a healthier diet. For December's newsletter, here
are some ideas about eating mindfully.
Where to start✨
Reducing meat consumption 🥓🥩
Cutting out meat altogether is not for everyone. Some of us (like myself) are allergic to tofu and other plant-based proteins, and meat dishes can hold great cultural significance in our lives. But it might be time for us meat eaters to reframe meat as an occasional treat in our diet, rather than the centerpiece of every
By doing so we can:
Save money 💰
Meat-based proteins are almost always more expensive than plant-based proteins, and it can be one of the easiest ways to save money on food. It’s important to acknowledge that many
people live in food deserts where fresh produce isn’t readily available, but canned/dried beans and lentils are a cheap and delicious source of protein. A better diet will also yield fewer health problems, meaning fewer doctor's bills.
Research has shown that meat consumption has a terrible impact on the environment. It takes more water to raise cattle and chicken than pretty much any other vegetable, including thirsty crops like almonds. Humans need to reduce their meat consumption to have any hope of reversing climate change.
Explore new tastes 🍋
Meat gives food a savory flavor, but without it, you can explore other sources of savory taste, like mushrooms and tomatoes, which have natural umami. Acids like lemon, life and vinegar make a huge difference. And without meat dominating a meal, the flavors of vegetables like fennel, celery, and lotus root can be very striking.
It's easy to forget moderation and balance as we seek healthier diets. We zero in on "super-foods" like avocados and almonds as the answer to eating healthfully. But the relentless focus on one or two ingredients can have negative environmental impacts, especially if they demand a tremendous amount of water.
We can moderate our consumption of the latest "super-food" and try other plant-based foods with healthy fats, like walnuts, coconut, and pistachios, and beans and pulses which are cheap, of lower environmental impact, and full of protein.
A healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle is not necessarily instinctive, so it helps to have some guidance.
Here at Stardust, we awarded a micro-grant to the healthy-living appFlora, that incentives users towards more green behaviors and helps them find eco-friendly and holistic places in their areas, like vegan restaurants, places to recycle, community
gardens and more.
During this time of year, there is so much guilt surrounding holiday food and drink, and about what we should or shouldn’t be eating. While we can make choices that we deem healthier and more environmental, it’s important to remember that food should be about pleasure, nourishment, and connecting with other people. There is nothing like a good food memoir to remind you of the joy we can take in eating
and cooking - they make fantastic gifts as well.
British chef and writer Fuschia Dunlop learned to cook in the Sichuan region of China, and traveled to other parts of China to learn about the incredible breadth of Chinese cuisine. Her respectful study of Chinese cooking and reflection on the harms of extravagant consumption, not to mention her learning both Sichuan dialect and Mandarin Chinese, are very
Laurie Colwin’s collection of essays about making do with her tiny kitchen to make comforting, creative, delicious meals, is filled with funny observations about the way people eat and party. The recipes are good, but the warm, friendly atmosphere that Colwin creates is even better.
Liu-Tan’s memoir of learning to cook with her Singaporean relatives and connect with them through cherished family recipes and techniques will make you drool, but the way she connects with family who lives on the other side of the world through what they love to eat will truly move you.
Podcast recommendation 🎧
During the holidays, in the midst of gift-giving, preparing food, and decorating, we often forget to take care of ourselves. But it's so important!
This podcast is called Spiritual Alchemy and it's hosted by the co-creators of The Stardust-Startup Factory, Jean and Camille. They discuss the hardships of grief and what it means to move from that to a place of freedom and purpose.
This episode is all about self-care. There's also a special segment: various interviews with family and friends on how they practice self-care. Listen for yourself, the responses are wonderful!
Listen to the episode online on Anchor(use Chrome or Firefox as your browser) or on your smartphone via iTunes or Spotify!